So you're going to run an online course or teleconference. And you're pretty darned sure that you're going to do all the talking. Which is kinda counterproductive at best. Clients learn better when they're in the thick of things instead of just listening to your yada-yada.
But it's not like you haven't tried to get participation before. So why didn't it work before? And how do you get it work from here on?
Participation increases when you ramp up one factor
It's called the common pool of understanding. For example at Psychotactics.com we have a book called The Brain Audit. The Brain Audit has certain parameters.
And details. Which means when a client reads the Brain Audit, they become qualified.
No one is an expert on anything
But at least they're not unsure any more. They're now more qualified to give answers based on a common understanding. What this means, is that you're creating a common language or knowledge. This is a language or knowledge that's part of the common pool that you've created. Those inside the pool, can splash around and enjoy the nice, warm water. Those outside the pool look into the pool, and think jumping in may be a very good idea indeed.
So what you've got to do is create a common knowledge pool.
This can be a book. (The Brain Audit). It can be a class (e.g. The Article Writing Course). It could be a separate part of the forum that's available only to Premium Members.
What's going to happen as a result of this common knowledge?
The members improve their understanding of that knowledge and therefore are able to now comment on websites/articles etc, that go outside that common knowledge pool. So someone who's done the article writing course will be able to give specific advice, but someone who's done another course (e.g. the attversumption course) is still able to give advice.
But how do they get used to giving advice?
I encourage them. While many people are not exactly comfortable in forums or discussions, they're more likely to pitch in if they feel “safe” and if they're referring to a common knowledge pool. When it comes to courses or presentations, it may be a great idea to send in information in advance. These pages of information should be about what you're going to cover. It may be an excerpt. It may be a chapter. It may be a section. Whatever it is, let it not be blah-blah about you, and more about the information you're going to cover.
This gets the participants prepared, and already locked in to that common knowledge pool.
When they walk through that door, they're not walking into an unsafe zone. They already have a common knowledge base. This encourages them to relax. And participate. Of course, it would make immense sense to reference parts of the information you've sent in advance. It would make sense to ask early questions based on the information you've sent in advance. That way, you build early trust. And create a safe zone. Yes, even with existing clients.
You'd think existing clients would feel safe, but they don't.
Even if the clients know you, and know the information, they're in a different zone. The room is different. The information is new. The structure of learning is new. These unknown factors create a lack of safety. So the more you do to create the safety zone, the more relaxed the clients will be. And more likely to participate.
So create the safety zone.
And one of the starting points for the safety zone is to provide the common knowledge pool. Then provide the margaritas. And we'll all jump in!
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